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12 of the best coding toys for kids of all ages 2021

Good to Know – Charlotte Duck

“The children of today are growing up in a different world to their parents – and they will need different skill sets. Computers and coding are now a core part of the National Curriculum, taught from Reception at school. You don’t have to be a budding engineer or a STEM enthusiast – learning how to program, problem-solve and code is a key part of their development, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to sit in front of a screen all day.” (more)

PBL in the Early Elementary Grades

Edutopia – Sarah Stilwell

“Making a change to classroom instruction can be complex, confusing, and even overwhelming. Educators may have reservations about shifting their teaching approach as they consider student response, increased time commitment, or lack of support. They also may not know how to take the leap. But taking the leap to project-based learning is well worth the effort. Moving toward a PBL teaching approach includes many potential benefits for educators and students alike.” (more)

Designing Meaningful Assessments in World Language Classes

Edutopia – Elena Spathis

“Lengthy, strictly grammar-based multiple-choice assessments are a trend of the past in world language classes. Rather than drilling students on particular grammatical points or vocabulary in isolation, meaningful world language assessments should focus on authentic, real-world scenarios in which students use the language in practical and realistic ways.” (more)

3 ways you can use digital tools to boost student motivation

E-School News – Erika Chmura

“Many educators navigating the use of technology for learning have seen this scenario come to life in the classroom: you give your students an online assignment and a few minutes into it you start the exhausting routine of trying to guess who might be opening other tabs to play games or watch videos, while you figure out ways to redirect them towards their work.” (more)

Supporting Executive Function Skills by Asking Questions

Edutopia – Sarah Kesty

“Jumping on a giant trampoline as an adult is usually humbling and pretty awkward. Your trampoline muscles need some practice before they’re ready for full use. Our students are having a parallel experience; after over a year away from physical school, many of them may need support in developing their executive function or “studenting” skills for doing well in person. Executive function (EF) skills are brain-based management abilities that encompass a wide range of future skills like planning, organizing, self-regulation (including managing attention and emotions), learning, and memory.” (more)

California’s Commitment: Literacy, Biliteracy, and Libraries

Language Magazine – Stephen Krashen

“The goal of the task force is that every child in California learns to read by third grade. I suspect that third grade was chosen because of the common assumption that reading ability in grade three is a good predictor of later reading ability and educational success. It is, but there is nothing magic about grade three. Reading ability can improve a great deal after that, in fact at any age, given access to highly interesting and comprehensible reading material (Krashen and McQuillan, 2007).” (more)

Here’s how America can solve its language education problem

The Miscellany News – Ben Goth

“This decline in foreign language education will have devastating effects on future generations, as they risk being monolingual in an increasingly multilingual world. Being fluent in a foreign language has many cognitive and social benefits; for example, memory is tested as an individual tries to remember new words and communication with non-English speaking coworkers or peers can improve performance in academic and career paths.” (more)

Testing Backlash Could Hurt American Global Competitiveness

Education Next – Yanxi Fang

“Mostly absent from the discussion about expanded access has been talk about testing and accountability. In fact, recent trends in the U.S. have been in the opposite direction. The 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act lowered the stakes attached to nationally mandated state tests. Since then, the gains in student achievement that had been seen under the more rigid No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 have leveled off. The causes of that are debated, but some see a link (see “What to Make of the 2019 Results from the ‘Nation’s Report Card’”).” (more)

As omicron emerges, health experts urge keeping schools open

K-12 Dive – Anna Merod

“Schools and the rest of the world are awaiting more details on the threat posed by the omicron variant of COVID-19, which has been labeled a variant of concern by both the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization.” (more)